Judy Schutte said she can spot a fake bill in a second.
That’s about all the time it took her to catch a $100 counterfeit bill a customer tried to use at Yelm Park Place Shell on May 26.
Cameras captured the suspect taking the fake bill out of his wallet and sliding it across the counter.
"I took one look and it was an obvious fake,” Schutte said.
Seconds later, the customer walks behind the counter, reaches for the bill and attacks Schutte as she calls the cops.
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"The guy grabbed my arm, he twisted my arm, he stole my cellphone, I still haven't got my cellphone back,” she said.
The suspect ran out of the store, hopped into a Honda sedan and took off.
Yelm police showed KIRO 7 the fake bill. It was torn in two when the suspect tried snatching it back from the clerk.
Detectives said it’s one of the best counterfeit bills they've ever seen.
"I would say 90-percent of people would accept this $100 bill,” said Detective Bill Devore, with the Yelm Police Department. "It's becoming an issue because people are making them easy and they're making them better."
Schutte agrees the problem is getting worse.
"It's an epidemic of people passing fake bills in this area,” she said.
The crime is happening from the North Sound to the South Sound. Schutte pulled out a stack of counterfeit cash passed at her store.
She said it's hurting business and that the suspects who try to pay with phony cash need to be caught.
Police believe the man who attempted to use the counterfeit cash in Yelm has ties to Tacoma and he's likely using fake cash at other stores.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect, is urged to call 800-222-8477.
Cox Media Group